Panthers put away desperate Warriors
The Penrith Panthers have claimed a surprise scalp across the Tasman today after defeating the New Zealand Warriors 28-24 in front of 11,596 fans at Mt Smart Stadium.
Early momentum was all with the home side, with two tries in the opening twenty minutes putting the Warriors ahead 12-0. Both Thomas Leuluai and Elijah Taylor made a mockery of poor Penrith defence to flex their muscle early.
However from here, the hosts' finals aspirations took a massive hit. Over the next 40 minutes, the Panthers went on to score 22 unanswered points to take a 22-12 lead early in the second half. Miraculous efforts on each sideline from the wingers - two for Mansour and two for David Simmons - were highlights for the visiting Penrith outfit.
The Warriors woke up once they fell ten points behind, with Suaia Matagi getting his first try in the NRL to reduce the margin back to four. The Panthers then hopped ahead again with a try to Sika Manu, who skilfully managed to knock himself out in the act of scoring.
As fulltime approached the hosts did narrow the gap back to four with a frantic try to Konrad Hurrell in the corner, but the Panthers stoically defended the final minutes to ensure a victory.
The Panthers' faint finals hopes remain alive for another week, but it will take a special effort for either side to make it with both sitting on 22 points and carrying negative for and against. Penrith come home to host the Broncos on Friday night with a short turnaround, while the Warriors head to Skilled Park on Saturday, where a strong Kiwi contigent is sure to cheer them home as they desperately seek to keep their finals hopes alive.
New Zealand Warriors 24 Penrith Panthers 28
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Halftime Score: Penrith Panthers 16-12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - David Simmons
2 points - Thomas Leuluai
1 point - Josh Mansour
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (24)
Tries: Thomas Leuluai, Elijah Taylor, Suaia Matagi, Konrad Hurrell
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (4/4)
PENRITH PANTHERS (28)
Tries: Josh Mansour (2), David Simmons (2), Sika Manu
Conversions: Luke Walsh (4/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Kickoff not far away for these sides... both sides really must win to be a serious chance of jumping into the eight. The Warriors are still in the running regardless but will face an uphill battle, while the Panthers are talking mathematics. The home side is in their normal black jersey with white and red vees, while the Panthers have taken to their Pink strip again, indicating their could be an alternate jersey change in 2014...
GAME ON. Warriors kick off, Penrith ball first up.
4 min: Dane Nielsen
looking worse for wear after sustaining a leg injury. He's limping but stays on the park.
Warriors now with back to back sets with a penalty on the last. Right on Penrith's line.
Penrith with their first chance to attack the Warriors' line, they mess the passes up and Luke Walsh
is pinged for being offside in attack. NZ penalty.
Penrith with another chance, they force a line drop out through a grubber which Kevin Locke
HALFTIME - it's been a crazy first half - the Warriors dominating early before the Panthers clicked into gear. Penrith lead 16-12.
Back underway for the second half.
Panthers penalty... but by the end of the set the Warriors have held them out. NZ ball.
Penrith dominating early but still yet to convert it to points. Warriors with it at the moment, surging upfield.
Warriors force Dave Simmons in-goal. Drop out Panthers.
Warriors looking likely... then a forward pass ruled against them. Penrith scrum.
59 min: TRY PENRITH PANTHERS
Scored by Josh Mansour
. Conversion attempt by Luke Walsh
WOW. Josh Mansour
has scored a superb try, echoing the Justin Hodges
no-try in Origin a few years ago... except this one Mansour has got to ground! Walsh from out wide converts... Penrith in the box seat now!Penrith Panthers
62 min: TRY NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Scored by Suaia Matagi
. Conversion attempt by Shaun Johnson
The Warriors have hit straight back, Matagi scoring his inaugural NRL try! Johnson converts to reduce the margin back to four.Penrith Panthers
The foibles of the NRL rulebook on display again - the ball hits Jason Robinson
while the Warriors were in posession in their own half. The new rules mean it's a Penrith scrum feed!
Penrith with a superb break and they're on the attack here...
Warriors on the attack now, they'll be desperate to score here...
Video referee being asked to look at a possible Warriors try to Konrad Hurrell
Penrith on the attack with time running down...
Dave Simmons held up over the line. Tackle four, play on...
Warriors have it coming out of their own end. Now a PENALTY! This is it!
Video referee possible Warriors try.... but its gone into touch.
No try Warriors, Penrith scrum and they play out the set. Game set match!